As time has gone on and increased reports of Apple’s next iPhone lacking a headphone jack have persisted, I’ve begun to delve deeper into the future of what consumer audio playback on iOS could be. Though headphones have found their way into nearly all levels of the consumer market in the past few years, I wanted to imagine what this headphone jack-less future could look like. I decided to start with the affordable, and what I would consider entry-level, Syllable D900’s true wireless earbuds.
Syllable says the batteries last for six hours, but the clever part is that they come with their own recharging station that doubles as a case. Charge up the case’s internal battery using a microUSB cable for around three hours and there’s enough power to recharge the headphones six times.
The headphones come with (larger) black silicone tips and (smaller) white tips. I found the black tips were the best fit and the hooks help to keep the buds in place without falling out, after you’ve given the buds a small twist towards the front. Syllable recommends the D900 for use in the gym and says they’re ‘sweat-proof’.
If neither of the sets is a good fit, you’re stuck for other options. Fortunately for me I wasn’t in the position but it would be nice to have included a few more various sizes of silicone tips for all the various sizes of ears out there.
Setup And Pairing
The manual has exceptionally bad English which means I had to resort to you a YouTube video which explained that you have to press the button on each bud four times, holding down for a few seconds on the last push. Holding the buds close together allows them to pair. Skip this part and you’ll get audio out of only one, but not both.
There’s also no mention of how the charging process works, or what the LEDs mean. (Syllable’s website does explain that the case’s red LED means charging, and blue means charging complete.)
The case lid holds the buds tightly against the charging contacts, but you need to first remove the tiny piece of clear tape put on by the factory before they’ll charge; very easy to miss, especially as the manual doesn’t mention that either. Also, it’s very easy for the buds to be misaligned so you need to check that the faint red charging light is on for both buds once the lid is on.
A single press of either button pauses and plays music, while a double press redials the last number you called. I couldn’t get this to work on my iPhone 7 Plus, though. If you get a call while listening to music, you can answer it with a single press, or reject with two presses.
The earbuds themselves look very attractive on a desk or in a picture, but unfortunately the plastic that they are made of has a less than well-built quality feel to it. The material probably helped translate to the earbud’s impressive weight. It was the first thing I noticed once I removed them from the charging case. They were so lightweight that when I had first started using them, I couldn’t tell if they were actually inserted into my ears correctly or not. I had to look into a mirror to double-check.
Unfortunately with the Syllable D900’s you can’t control the volume nor can you skip forward or backwards by using some kind of swipe or whatever on the earbuds themselves. This all has to be done with the device in which you have them paired to and this is a bit frustrating in a way especially if you’re at the gym or similar. Pulling out your phone or whatever can be cumbersome in such a situation and having the controls on the earbuds themselves would have been perfect.
A good feature about these earbuds is that they are water-resistant and splashproof so they are perfect to wear during those sweaty work outs. And in case you get caught in the rain while you are out jogging with them on, then they should be fine as well. The D900S earbuds have an IPX rating of only 4 so submersing them in water probably wouldn’t be such a great idea.
If build quality is average, sound quality is a notch below that. As long as you can get a good fit – and therefore good seal – with one of the ear tips you’ll get great bass. Overwhelming bass in some cases.
I played my usual variety of rock, metal, jazz, and pop and found the Syllable D900’s will appeal most to pop genre of music listeners; ideal for the gym. The powerful bass and clear vocals suit dance tracks, but when it comes to busy rock music it seems vocals and instruments appear to trip over each other and the sound can become crowded and muddy. A wide sound stage there is not; high frequencies are a little lacking too.
There’s no lack of volume, but turn them up too much and the sound becomes harsh and painful to listen to. But with the right music and volume, the D900 can produce decent audio. Range is actually better than Syllable claims. I managed 25m with line-of-sight before the sound started to cut out (paired with an iPhone 7 Plus), and had no issues with choppy audio within that range.
As a hands-free headset, though, the D900 isn’t great. Audio comes from the right earbud only and while you won’t sound too distant to the person on the other end, the built-in microphone isn’t particularly high quality. I had no problems with echoing, so the noise cancellation appeared to be doing a decent job.
While they might be affordable and they might be comfortable, in the end the Syllable D900’s are simply mediocre at best. They certainly aren’t the worst I’ve ever used but they aren’t the best either.
As mentioned, they are definitely affordable, at the price of $59.99, in a market that still has wireless earbuds being a bit on the expensive side and for the price they are super comfortable, at least to me. But unfortunately there are more things to earbuds that can and will either make them great or not so great and these fall short right after those two things mentioned above.
If you’re looking for wireless earbuds that you can use all day long and experience good to great sound, then I suggest you look elsewhere unfortunately.
Syllable D900 Wireless Earbuds$59.99
Design And Form Factor9.7/10
Ease Of Use9.0/10
Audio Output Quality8.1/10
Audio Input Quality7.5/10
- Light Weight
- Very Small In Size
- Lacking In Sound Quality
- Build Quality Is Cheap
- No Volume Controls
- No Forward/Backward Track Control